NEW DELHI: Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday reminded top army commanders about the "strong image" of the force and called for efforts to reinforce it further, comments that came amid outrage in Kashmir over the controversial "human shield" video.
Gen Rawat was speaking at the army commanders' conference, which deliberated on an array of issues, including the evolving security situation, modernisation of the force and logistical difficulties for troops in conflict zones.
In his address on the opening day of the three-day conference, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley hailed the Army for tackling challenging situations, and said modernisation of weapons and other critical systems for Army is the government's "top-most" priority.
He complimented the commanders, saying "Whenever the challenges multiply or their nature changes, Indian Army has always outperformed itself", the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
The conference will deliberate in detail on the prevailing security scenario, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, besides "strategic" and "actionable" issues to ensure effective combat edge over adversaries.
"He (Gen Rawat) observed that Indian Army continues to hold a strong image and a professional reputation. He exhorted all ranks to endeavour to further strengthen the same," the Ministry said.
The video, showing a man tied to an army vehicle purportedly as a shield against stone-pelters during polling in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-election, has triggered a public outcry prompting civil and army authorities to launch separate investigation.
The Army is contemplating whether to order a Court of Inquiry into the incident.
The conference is likely to deliberate extensively on the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Army commanders' conference is an important event in the planning and execution of various key decisions relating to the country's security and strategic interests.
The issue of Non-Functional Upgrade (NFU) also figured during the deliberations. There has been demand for implementing NFU in the armed forces.
Under the NFU scheme, officers in central group A category get automatic time-bound pay promotions. Pay hike under NFU scheme is independent of organisational requirements and vacancy.